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Academic Research Grants

Help Companies Reduce Toxics, Publish Research Results

The TURI Academic Research grants are awarded to UMass researchers in partnership with industry. Congratulations to this year's grant recipients:

Associate Professor Hsi-Wu Wong, Department of Chemical Engineering at UMass Lowell aims to identify safer, effective solvents in collaboration with Johnson Matthey, a manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates at its facilities in North Andover and Devens. The safer alternatives could replace methylene chloride, a toxic chemical used in the company’s manufacturing processes. This project is a continuation of last year’s research conducted by Assistant Professor Grace Chen of Plastics Engineering. The goal of this year’s research is to further evaluate the effectiveness of the identified safer alternative solvent blends.

Professor Ramaswamy Nagarajan, Department of Plastics Engineering at UMass Lowell will work with Transene Company of Danvers to research safer chemicals, to replace per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) surfactants used in electronic processing chemicals. The research team will study the compatibility and stability of pectin-based bio-surfactants in etching solutions. This work is expected to help Transene phase out the use of PFAS by the end of 2022 and provide useful results for other industries that use PFAS surfactants in manufacturing.

About the Academic Grant Program

The goal of the TURI Academic Grant program is to help Massachusetts companies develop solutions for some of the more challenging uses of toxic chemicals. 

As a researcher, you will solve real world problems, providing invaluable training for the next generation of engineers and scientists. Companies benefit by having highly skilled researchers work to solve toxics use reduction problems at no cost.

The grants are available to faculty who:

  • Are teaching and/or conducting research at one of the five UMass campuses (Amherst, Lowell, Dartmouth, Boston or Worcester)
  • Have a master's or doctoral level student candidate who will be dedicated to the research project for one academic year.

The maximum funding amount for each research project is $25,000 for a one year project, or $35,000 for a two year project, with the bulk of the funding compensating graduate students actively involved in the research. 

The annual grant deadline is typically the end of June. Even though this year's grant deadline has passed, contact Greg Morose with questions and to discuss project ideas.

Grant Project Results

Siemens Collaborates with UMass Lowell Researchers to Find a Safer Surfactant

With funding from a TURI Academic Research Grant, UMass Lowell researchers partnered with Siemens Healthineers to find a safer surfactant used in diagnostics devices.

Plastics Engineering Researchers Publish Research Results in Polymer Magazine 

The research results of a TURI Academic Research Grant project identified safer alternatives to methylene chloride used to remove conformal coatings on printed circuit boards. The study, led by Assistant Professor Wan-Ting (Grace) Chen of the Plastics Engineering Department at UMass Lowell in partnership with Raytheon Company, was recently published in Polymers Journal. Read the article, "Removing Acrylic Conformal Coating with Safer Solvents for Re-Manufacturing Electronics."

Johnson Matthey Collaborates to Find Safer Alternatives to Methylene Chloride use in Pharmaceuticals

Assistant Professor Chen is currently working on a second grant in partnership with Johnson Matthey, a manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates with facilities located in North Andover and Devens. The goal of the research project is to find safer alternatives to methylene chloride, a toxic chemical used in reaction and purification processes. The researchers plan to identify safer alternative solvents, screen the alternatives for health and safety considerations and test the performance of selected solvents.

 

 

Grant Materials
Within on year, we were able to find safer alternatives to contact adhesives, apply for a patent and publish the results.
- Assoc. Prof. Chris Hansen, Mechanical Engineering, UMass Lowell